Star Trek: Strange New Worlds brought in the Gorn but how did they justify it?
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds have brought The Gorn into the forefront of Star Trek lore with their increased role within the franchise. While historically it isn’t all making the most sense, the fact is that it is working in the context of the series. Some Trek fans may have an issue with them bumping heads with established canon, however.
That’s a big deal, since the series is nearly 60 years old and has fans even older than that, the ability to respect what came before is paramount in keeping fans of all ages engrossed in the content. So being able to balance the past, present and future is a necessity.
Since the Gorn weren’t known about by James T. Kirk in the original series “The Arena”, how did the writing room of Strange New Worlds justify showing the Gorn for the first time in the series? Well, Davy Perez, the series co-executive producer, and writer behind the episode that showed the Gorn, “All Those Who Wander” decided to expand on that thought process.
Speaking in Inverse, Perez revealed how the Gorn can both be seen on Strange New Worlds and not known by Kirk nearly a decade later.
"Kirk’s idea of the Gorn is different from what he is being told by the Metrons. The Gorn he’s meeting in ‘Arena,’ doesn’t sync with his expectations of them. It was a personal choice I made in my own headcanon that allowed me to have fun with the writing. Viewing it that way creates more possibilities for Gorn stories to continue."
Perez seems to use the idea that not everyone believes the Gorn are real or what they’re truly about as a rationale for why Kirk didn’t know or couldn’t recognize them in the original series episode. Going further on to say;
"Maybe Kirk has never seen them, he could even be one of those people who still doubts the stories, or maybe even he has seen them and they don’t look the same. I think the safest thing to say is we have no idea what the Gorn are really like."
Alluding to the Gorn being different races between series is an idea
The idea of the Gorn being different races is very possible. Maybe they’re from different universes, or maybe they’re different versions of the same race, like the Xindi. That may be the more unique idea, having the Gorn in the original series be a different type than the one we saw in Strange New Worlds.
The Gorn episode in the original series is more a gimmicky joke at this point and isn’t the watershed episode they tried to make it originally. It’s less of an issue to re-write the Gorn’s appearance than say the Klingons. Yet, we’ve also see series like Enterprise disrupt canon by showing the Romulans before they were ever known by the crew of the USS Enterprise. They also had a version of the Klingons that didn’t mesh with what we saw in the original series as well.
So we can get mad that Strange New Worlds is breaking canon like the original series films did, like The Next Generation did, like Enterprise did, or we can just accept that not everything can fall into place seamlessly.
That’s up to you.